Hanukkah is upon us once again and whether you celebrate holidays or not, you’ll probably agree that the best thing about Hanukkah are the doughnuts! If you’re in Tel Aviv these days, you’ll be smelling them wherever you go.
While it’s not really necessary to use eggs when making doughnuts, some places that sell them do and some places don’t… you won’t know unless you ask :) Or you can simply make them yourself. Ingredients are cheap and you know exactly what goes into your doughnut.
Here’s an easy recipe for vegan doughnuts:
3 cups flour
1 tbsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
3 tbsp sugar
1. Mix all ingredients together
2. Let the dough sit in a warm place for about an hour; it should rise to double its size
3. Knead the dough until smooth and let it rise again
4. Heat frying oil in a pan
5. Fry small balls of dough in oil until they turn brown
6. Absorb oil, add powdered sugar and strawberry jam
That’s a recipe for traditional doughnuts, but you can also check out some healthier vegan doughnuts recipes:
You can find vegan tofu based ice creams at most health stores and some supermarkets. The more common brands are Tofutti and Reo. You can also check packages of normal looking ice creams for the “parve" label. These are non dairy, although not necessarily made of soy.
Most ice cream places in Tel Aviv offer sorbet (fruit based, non-dairy) and a few also make ice cream using soy milk:
Siciliana Ice Cream
Even Gvirol 63 (near Rabin Square)
Offers a good selection of soy ice cream and sorbet.
Italian Ice Cream
Ben Yehuda 122
A small selection of soy ice cream.
Taste of Life (“Taam Hahaim”)
Ben Yehuda 35
A vegan restaurant serving soy ice cream.
Yehuda Halevi 22
A vegan restaurant serving soy ice cream.
When shopping for cosmetics and toiletries, it’s fairly easy to find products that were not tested on animals - just look for the rabbit symbol. Some items will also indicate that they contain no animal ingredients.
The Israeli Society against Vivisection is the main local NGO focusing on animal testing. They compile an annual consumer guide listing companies that do not test on animals, as well as products that contain no animal ingredients. Here is a list of companies that match both criteria:
- Aya Natural
- Dead Sea Premier
- Earth Friendly Products
- Guild Enterprises Limited
- Tab Cosmetics
- Moraz Herbal Remedies
There are some active animal rights groups and quite a few animal welfare groups and associations operating in Tel Aviv. You can contact them about activities and campaigns, volunteer opportunities, information etc.
The two most prominent animal rights groups in Israel are:
Anonymous - Israel’s leading vegetarianism and animal rights organization. They organise activities on an ongoing basis, such as information stalls and lectures, and run major nation wide campaigns, including a campaign against the force feeding of geese and against battery cages.
Shevi - Animal Liberation Israel - an animal rights group that has been active for several years. They hold regular information stalls on veganism and other issues, as well as demonstrations in Tel Aviv and in other parts of the country. Their website has informative articles, movies and photos, as well as vegan recipes and information on activities.
Taste of Life (“Taam Hachaim”)
Ben Yehuda 35
A vegan and largely organic restaurant run by the Hebrew Israelite community.
The menu is in both English and Hebrew and offers a great selection of hot dishes, sandwiches, vegan cheese, salads, vegan ice cream and more. One of their specialties is fake meats of all sorts.
Prices are not cheap but reasonable.
Sense of Gaya
74 King George Street (central location, close to Dizengof Center), 03-525 25 12
A health store selling organic food, spices, herbs, tea infusions, raw food, organic wine and more. There’s also a naturopathy and medicinal herbs clinic.
35 Ben Yehuda Street
Wholefood shop selling organic food, supplements and herbs. They have a nice range of soy products, seitan, organic fruit and veg, natural hygiene products, various organic snacks (some contain honey) and more.
Even Gavirol 58 (Rabin square/Frishman st.) 03-6965174
A large and rather popular health store with a wide range of vegan and organic items, as well as vitamins, cosmetics and other products. Prices vary from reasonable to expensive. The main advantage of this store is its size - you are likely to find what you’re looking for.
Tel Aviv has plenty of street food options for vegans and vegetarians. They are very cheap and easy to find. Some examples:
Sabich -a sandwich containing fried eggplants and a boiled egg. If you’re vegan, simply ask to have it without the egg, and have more of the other fillings instead, which can include potatoes, Amba (mango pickle), humus and various salads.
Borek (pronounced burekas) - a Balkan pastry made of phyllo dough with various fillings, which may include cheese, spinach, potatoes and mushrooms.
Falafel - made of chickpeas and served in a sandwich with salads.
Humus - a paste made of chickpeas, served with bread and can be serves with salad, French fries, pickles and more.
Commonly, bread sold in Israel does not contain milk. If in doubt, check the Kosher label on the package.
"Shook" is Hebrew for market, and Tel Aviv has some interesting ones. The most central market Shook Hacarmel, which is located near the corner of Allenby Street and King George Street. You’ll find just about any fruit and veg you need at friendly prices. Another great market is Shook Hatikva, located in a neighborhood with the same name on the Eastern side of Tel Aviv. For spices, beans, lentils, nuts and other delicacies, go to Shook Levinsky on Levinsky Street. Prices on Friday afternoon at all markets are extremely low (just before they close for Shabbat).
Tel Aviv cafes are known for their excellent coffee. You can order your coffee with soy milk in the vast majority of cafes around the city. You will often be charged a small extra charge. Alternatively, you can buy the small size cartons of Alpro soy milk, keep them in your bag and order your coffee without milk.
It’s not hard to find soy milk in most supermarkets and stores in Tel Aviv. Flavored soy milk (such as chocolate, coffee, vanilla and banana) is also readily available.
Rice milk is becoming more common, but you are still more likely to find it only in larger supermarkets and in health stores. Other types of milk, such as oat milk or almond milk, can be found in health stores.
Tofu cheese is also available in many stores. Brands include Tofutti, Tofu Deli and Shizan.